19 June 2020

Dear Year 11

This week marks what would have been the end of your formal exams. It is also the time we would have been thinking about how to say goodbye. I always say it, but I can never quite believe how fast each year group’s time at Trinity goes.

Ordinarily, we would have met for a leaver’s celebration in the dining room. We would have begun the celebration with a time-lapse video looking back at our New Intake Days and your Year 9 photos. Looking at those photos now, I can’t believe how young you all looked and how much you have changed! We would have reminisced over funny occasions throughout your time at Trinity, recaptured sporting moments, productions, trips overseas and even dance offs at the Christmas disco!

Your teachers would cast aside dignity and attempt some form of dance routine normally choreographed by Mrs Laxton – historically a pretty poor performance, but none the less a shared moment between you and us, that only we would find funny.

We would then have the awards … starting by celebrating the mandatory awards, the ones we celebrate every year …  Star students of each subject, those with 100% attendance for a year, two years and finally those who attended every single day for a full three years – an outstanding achievement, well done if this was you!

And of course, we would pay a special homage to our sporting heroes. This year group have excelled in sports team and leadership qualities, from This Girl Can to the many fixtures and events that you represented us in. But throughout all of these formal awards, I know that you would have been waiting for the people’s awards, those nominated by yourselves.

I wonder who would have got those prestige awards voted for by you. Who was the nicest person? The best sports man/woman? The couple most likely to get married? The most likely to be a millionaire or be Prime Minster? Who had the worst laugh in the year group?

There would be flowers, thank you’s, tears and the obligatory shirt signing before we said our final official goodbyes and distributed the prom tickets.

Not this year. Our journey was stopped short at a moment’s notice, leaving us confused, upset and even angry that we were denied these Year 11 rituals.

We were expecting Boris Johnson to announce an extended Easter break, possibly an extra week or two of being able to revise solidly but sadly this was not the case and I still remember the feeling of numbness and shock when he announced all Year 11 exams were going to be cancelled.

Lining up outside the main venues, calling your name and seat number, the switching off and handing in of mobile phones. The irony that the last time we did this, we were freezing cold; now we would be too hot and, instead of letting you wear your coats to keep warm, we would have encouraged you to remove your blazers and ties. And supplied you with fans! But the heat would not have stopped you. We have no doubt that you would have given it your all, written solidly until your hands hurt. You would have left the hall exhausted yet still debated the answers with others and checked with your teachers to see if what you had written was correct or not.

I know that you were disappointed not to be given the chance to show us what you could do. But Year 11, just because the exams didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean that your education and time at Trinity counts for nothing.

You may not have taken your seat in the main hall or gym with a black pen and an unlabelled water bottle, but the work is done; nothing is wasted.

Throughout your time at Trinity, you have enriched your lives with knowledge. You have tried new things and perfected those skills you already had. You have made new friends, fallen out with old ones, laughed and cried. It has been a pleasure to watch you grow into strong, mature and independent young adults. We are so very proud of everything you have become.

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

We will go on and welcome the Year 8’s into the Trinity Team … I hope they are every bit as good as you were in Year 9 😉.

And you – don’t let this stop you, make the most out of life. Work hard, be honest, be kind and you will be successful.

You are not a forgotten year group, but the survivors of a pandemic. Your year group will go down in history and no doubt one day, your own children and grandchildren will study this and answer questions about it in their own exams.

We may not be able to celebrate together (at the moment), but we’ve built a community that distance and disaster cannot break. That might be the greatest achievement of all.

We miss you and wish you all the very best for whatever comes next, but first enjoy the attached link remembering your time at Trinity.

Take care and stay safe Year 11.

Mrs Stephenson and Miss Jordan